The Promise

The first ten chapters of the book of Genesis show how people, who once were in perfect union with God, had gone astray because they wanted to do what they wanted to do and now with the knowledge of good and evil – they had a propensity for evil.  Sound familiar?

In Genesis 6:12 it speaks about how corrupted people and the earth had become.  People were living their lives without regard for God.  God was in the background at this point.  And it is at this point, that God comes to a man named Abram (who would later be known as Abraham)

In other words, the world that God had once pronounced as “very good” had become a real mess.

Most of us are familiar with messes.  During winter months, we know what it is for kids to run through the house with snow, wet and mud on their shoes leaving marks all over the carpeting.  If that isn’t bad enough, the dogs do the same thing.  They get into the house before you can wipe their paws off.

A man told a story about his lab who, when they were repainting a part of their house, had a paint brush in his mouth from the white, oil-based paint they were using.  He was doing his own painting.  He was throwing it around and then brushing walls, doors and their very light colored carpet with it.  And the more they would try to get the brush from him, the more he thought it was a game, and the more he would run around spraying paint and dabbing the walls and carpet as he went – not to mention getting them with the paint.

What a mess!  But here is the thing, with any mess, whether it is the one this writer was writing about or a closet or room in your house, you have to get it cleaned up.

The problem with a mess – especially a really big one – is where do you start?  You can’t clean it up all at once!  You have to break it down and begin somewhere.

God had a big mess on his hands.  But He needed to start somewhere.  He wasn’t about to give up on the world or the people He created.

He needed to start somewhere.  So He started with a man named Abram.

Genesis 12:1-3

One day God calls out to Abram…

  • Abram didn’t know this God from any other god…

  • He was already older and had reached that point in life where he had settled down and was looking forward to retirement…

  • He was too old to have kids and start a family…

  • If he moved to this new place, no one would know him…

  • He would have no status… he would be a nobody… his retirement plans would be put on hold… his financial status would be questionable at best…

  • He had no idea about this new foreign land…


  • To become a Great Nation – Israel(still around over 3,200 years)

  • To have a famous name– Abraham(Xians, Jews, Muslims)

  • All People would be blessed through what God was going to do – through the Messiah

This promise will run like a thread throughout the OT and into the NT – the coming of the Messiah.  It would be looked for throughout the history of the nation of Israel in the OT.  The prophets would foretell it… John the Baptist would foretell it… the people when Jesus was on earth would argue as to whether He was the long-awaited Messiah.  When He left earth and went back into the heavens, His story was told and retold.  Even today, it is debated as to whether He was the Messiah or not.  And His story is told by His followers even today, 2,000 years later.

You see, this promise is being fulfilled even in our lives, because we are blessed by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and by Him being in our lives in a supernatural way today.

This was the promise given to Abraham over 3,000 years ago.  This promise was true then; it is true today!

The story of Abraham isn’t all that much different than our story.  Abraham was confronted by God to do something that seemed ridiculous – to leave the only home he knew at 75 years old and travel to a foreign land to begin a new nation.  But He did.  But from the time he got there until his death, his life would take many twists and turns.

He wasn’t overly special.  He wasn’t overly holy.  He didn’t always obey God.  He didn’t always trust God.  And he often did things he shouldn’t have.

Think of this:

He was a coward… he was a liar… he had the first open marriage… he was directly disobedient to God… and he raised dysfunctional sons just to name some of his flaws.

Yet God used him anyway.  And if you are looking to see how this story of Abraham impacts your life’s journey, here it is:

Despite all of his flaws and all of his character deficiencies, in the end he trusted God.  How do we know that?  Well, he trusted God in the beginning by moving his family 600 miles through the desert to the Promised Land.

You may want to stop here and read: Romans 4:16    Galatians 3:6-9

You see, Abraham received the promise for all of us, and he was just an ordinary guy.  Sometimes we think people in the bible were so holy and so good – but clearly Abraham was not.  But he had the one thing God admired and desires most from all of us – at crunch time, he trusted God.

So, where does our journey intersect with God’s story here?  For many of us, we are trying to please God with things we do – go to church… give an offering… try to do good…  But while we are trying to be good, God is asking us to trust Him.  What areas of our lives don’t we trust Him in?

Our children… marriage… money… career… future… health…?  The areas we worry the most about, the things that make us most anxious, the places in our life we are the most insecure – those are the areas that God is getting your attention about and asking you to trust Him.  The places we are called to trust Him in are always the toughest areas for us.  But you see, trust is the DNA of all relationships.  God isn’t asking you to be good or play by the rules, He is inviting you into a relationship with Him.  A relationship w/ God is something to celebrate!

Questions to reflect upon…

  • What are the similarities between Abraham’s story and your

  • What would it take for you to trust God the way Abraham came to do?

Bob Mlynek